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What's Happening | South and East Valley

November 16, 2017
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
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Phoenix Country Club - Phoenix
2901 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ

Join us as three East Valley Economic Development Teams discuss their recent successes. Speakers from three of the booming East Valley communities will talk about their strategy in luring new businesses to the area as well as what is coming soon.

You will gain insight into: How economic development drives the AEC industry and their successes.

You will walk away with these benefits: Insight into the economic development industry; how do they draw in site selections; what is their measure of success.

You will find the answers to: The benefits of a robust economic development program, how you can assist in your local communities economic development and insight into site selector attraction.



Richard Wilkie

Economic Development Director | City of Casa Grande

Mr. Wilkie has over 20 years of government related experience, which has included working for Clark County, NV; the Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority; the City of Henderson, NV; and for the past 11 years the City of Casa Grande where he serves as the Economic Development Director.

Since taking over the economic development responsibilities for the City he has helped facilitate the location of manufacturing, logistics, health care, retail and commercial companies that represent over 3,500 new jobs and over $325 million dollars in capital investment.  Most recently he has been involved in working on/supporting several mega-site projects including the PhoenixMart (585 acres), Lucid Motors (500 acres), Dreamport Villages (1,300+ acres), and Attesa Motorsports (2,500+ acres).  Together these projects represent over 25,000 potential jobs and more than $5B in capital investment.

Mr. Wilkie currently represents the City on several regional groups/committees including the Arizona Association for Economic Development (President-elect), Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Economic Development Directors Team, the Pinal County Workforce Board (Executive Board), Central Arizona Association of Government’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee (CEDS), and the Pinal Partnership’s Economic Development group. 

Mr. Wilkie received his Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Teaching Credential from California State University at Long Beach, a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Management of State and Local Government from The George Washington University, is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s 2008 Southwest Leadership Academy, and is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). 

Denyse Airheart

Economic Development Director| City of Maricopa

Denyse Airheart joined the City of Maricopa in August 2013. Ms. Airheart received her bachelor’s degree from California State University Fullerton and holds a Master’s in Business Administration. Denyse has more than ten years of experience in business development talent acquisition. She joined the City of Maricopa in 2013 to move the community forward to achieve growth in retail, commercial and industrial base economies.

Ms. Airheart manages a number of noteworthy tasks such as marketing the community to retailers and employers, the business retention and expansion program, shop local and the Maricopa Advocate Program. Denyse takes pride in serving as a liaison to the business community, citizen committees, non-profit organizations, special interest groups and neighborhoods by proactively providing information specific to the City’s economic development department. Ms. Airheart has also completed coursework for designation as a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council. She is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the Arizona Association of Economic Development, and the Urban Land Institute. She has served as an Ex-Officio Board Member of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce since 2015 and as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Economic Development Directors Team since 2015.

Ms. Airheart is passionate about public service and is honored to serve Maricopa. She is married to her husband Steve and they have two children, Emery and Nolan. 

Lori Gary, CEcD

Economic Development Project Manager | City of Mesa

Lori has over 20 years of experience in the economic development profession including leading a regional economic development organization and managing two municipal economic development departments. Her experience spans three states where she designed and implemented successful economic development programs.  Lori joined the Mesa team as a Project Manager in July 2012. 

In Mesa, Lori is working to promote new investment, redevelopment, reuse, and job creation within the Fiesta District and West Mesa. Additionally, Lori is spearheading Mesa’s efforts to grow the medical, medical devices, and life sciences business sectors.


Member: $45

Non-Member: $60



Jamie Schindeldecker,, 602.997.6391

SMPS will offer a refund up to three days prior to the event, no refunds will be granted after this time.



$40.00 Member
$55.00 after 12:00 am November 14

$60.00 Non-Member
$75.00 after 12:00 am November 14